jeanine fritz

I don't know about your post-apocalyptic fantasies, but mine typically involve driving a beast of a pickup truck over things I couldn't pre-apocalypse (medians, mailboxes, Mini Coopers), all while wearing leather pants and a weird haircut.

My "Road Warrior" daydreams never involve food. That's because even if I could catch anything to eat, I wouldn't know what to do with it. I could see crossing paths with a cow and making it my pet before making it my dinner.

I love chicken parmesan but how a chicken goes from pecking the ground to being breaded is a hurdle, a little hurdle I like to call "cold-blooded murder." This candypants here has no taste for it. In a post-apocalyptic world, there's a decent chance I'd starve.

It's on my mind because the other evening while ordering dinner, Liz announced she didn't like steak because it was "too close to the original." Initially, I pegged Liz as insane but soon realized what she was talking about. Over a cheese quesadilla, we talked killing animals.

"I was sick the other day and broke out some chicken noodle soup," said Anni, "And then I just felt sad and couldn't eat it." (She must've gotten over it, because she said this while sitting in front of a plate of hot wings.)

Liz said she'd given up pork for years after finding out how smart pigs are. I told them about how I'd seen Stephen Colbert hold a piglet named "Li'l Smokey" while eating pancetta -- and that'd kicked off my recent revulsion.


For weeks now, as I sit at my day job, listening to news programs, my discomfort with food in general has grown. Sugar causes cancer. Chickens are raised without beaks. Mutant Monsanto foods are slowly creating mutant people with baby corn for fingers.

And I've been thinking that maybe I should do the caveman diet -- eating only organic, unprocessed foods. But that means no quesadillas, a lot of meat and probably a lot of weird poop in my future.

So I've got to address the skittishness over eating animals. I can't hide the animal in a nugget or between buns any longer -- it's gonna be out there, staring me in the face with its dead, accusatory eyes.

"Did you hear about Mike the Headless Chicken?" Liz asked. "This dude was making chicken for his mother-in-law, and she liked the neck meat a lot. So he chopped the chicken's head off way, way up high on the neck. And then he set the chicken down, and it got up and starting walking around, pecking at stuff, like nothing had happened."

"It couldn't peck at stuff, Liz, it didn't have a beak," I pointed out.

"Shuddup, I'm telling the story," she replied. "So anyway, the chicken is wandering around fine and all, and they're feeding him with an eyedropper, just dripping stuff into his neckhole, see? And he lives for SIX YEARS like that, and then he died in a hotel room in Tempe, Ariz., because some idiot tried putting a piece of corn down his neckhole and he choked. There's a statue of him downtown now."

There are two obvious questions here:

1. Is any of this true?

2. What did the mother-in-law eat for dinner if the dinner didn't want to play along?

But too bad for you, compadres; I don't want to ruin probably one of the best stories I've ever heard with facts.

Obviously, Liz's story about Mike the Headless Chicken didn't exactly help me get ready to eat one. I'm not sure how this whole caveman diet thing is gonna go down if I can't stomach seeing a fish shaped like a fish instead of a fish shaped like a square and covered in bread crumbs. Ultimately, it'll be a good thing, I know. And maybe moving forward, my post-apocalyptic dreams can involve cooking roadkill.